Bow windows aren’t just a holdover from the Georgian and Edwardian eras; they are a beautiful window style that complements property from any period. They’re usually curved and protrude from the wall providing panoramic exterior views and extra indoor space.
If you want to add a touch of sophistication and break up a large expanse of uninteresting flat wall at home, choose a bow window. Average uPVC bow window prices in the UK are £900 for a 3-section window, £1300 for a 4-section window, and £1800 for a 5-section window. In addition, the installation cost is around £300, irrespective of the size.
The most commonly installed modern bow windows are made from white or woodgrain uPVC, although you can buy them made from wood at a much higher price. However, as you usually paint wooden windows, you can’t tell the difference, and there isn’t any real advantage from using wood.
How Much Do Bow Windows Cost?*
The comparison table below outlines bow window prices in the UK. You can compare the sizes with your existing windows to give an idea of how much bow windows cost to buy. Assume a bow window installer charges around £300 per window.
|No. of Sections||Size (mm x mm)||Material||Estimated Purchase Price|
|3-Section||1200 x 2400||uPVC White||£800|
|1500 x 3000||uPVC White||£1000|
|4-Section||1200 x 3000||uPVC White||£1150|
|1500 x 3600||uPVC White||£1450|
|5-Section||1200 x 3600||uPVC White||£1600|
|1500 x 4000||uPVC White||£1800|
*We compiled these prices from various sources. Every property is unique, so regard them as estimated values to benchmark your own research. Installation prices always vary depending on your location within the UK. Therefore, labour rates in London and the Southeast are generally 20% higher than elsewhere. Furthermore, window purchase prices depend on hardware type, the number of opening sashes, and whether you choose double glazed bow windows or triple glazed. You also have to organise a roof over the window, with prices varying with style. Always contact a local bow window company if you want an accurate quote for your house. They will also recommend an installation company. Alternatively, use the form on this page.
uPVC is the abbreviated name for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride. It starts life as a plastic powder, heated and moulded into the required profile. Generally, manufacturers use lengths of moulded profiles and heat weld them together to produce doors and windows.
uPVC is naturally white, although you can buy many different colours or even wood grain effects. Also, when compared to painted wood, natural white uPVC looks much cleaner.
What makes white uPVC so popular is that it
- It’s slightly cheaper than coloured.
- You can get the same colour from different suppliers. White is white no matter where it comes from.
- It complements any other colour you might have on the outside of your property.
- When it’s sunny weather, the window frames gleam.
Woodgrain uPVC has the same structural strength and resistance to sunlight, oxidisation and weather that white uPVC has. The main difference is the printed woodgrain on the outer surface. Many customers prefer to have the woodgrain print on the exterior facing surfaces and white or coloured surfaces on the interior to match the room’s décor. Generally, these are more expensive than windows with colour on both sides. And usually, woodgrain uPVC is slightly more expensive than white.
The pattern and colour of woodgrain uPVC vary depending on the style. The most common wood effects are Rosewood, Light Oak, Teak and Irish Oak. However, overall, many manufacturers offer a choice of over 28 different coloured wood prints, from traditional woody shades like 8 or 9 oak shades to walnut, various grey colours, or green, red, and blue. You can choose the colour to suit your existing décor.
However, overall there are over 200 colours you can buy. Manufacturers categorise these into:
- Standard colours. The cheapest.
- Non-standard colours. Slightly more expensive.
- Metallic colours. Even more expensive.
An added advantage of having coloured uPVC is that dust or dirt doesn’t show too much.
Other Bow Window Styles
Traditional bow windows contain sash, casement or fixed panes, and which you choose depends on your personal preference. You can choose from any of the following styles:
The box sash has vertically sliding panes within each window frame. Traditionally, sash windows had a counterweight on each pane so that it was easy to open and close without much effort. However, uPVC windows typically use a pair of springs instead of counterweights. The lack of counterweights and their containing box means that the overall thickness of the window frame doesn’t need to be as thick as a traditional wooden one.
Casement windows have each pane hung on hinges, usually single-hung, but some are double-hung. Typically, if the panes are single-hung, the position of the hinges are on the side nearest to the end of the bow, nearest the wall. Therefore, each casement opens as a mirror image to its matching counterpart on the other end of the curve.
Although not often used exclusively, fixed window panes don’t open.
Many bow windows in British households have a combination of sash and fixed panes, single-hung casements with fixed panes, or double-hung casements with fixed panes. Mixing sash windows with casements is rare, but it’s pretty common to combine single and double-hung casements. The combination creates a pleasing contrast when some panes are open and the fixed panes are closed.
Because bow windows protrude from the wall, they require waterproofing above the panes to shed the rain. Traditionally, the roof was wood covered with lead flashing beaten into shape or tiles. Although this method of weatherproofing still takes place, some modern bow window styles use uPVC moulded flashing in the form of your choice.
Bow Window Benefits & Features
The typical price for bow windows is more than a simple casement or sliding sash. But their key features and benefits make them functional and attractive pieces of architecture within your home, which more than makes up for the increased cost.
uPVC of whatever colour you choose has the following benefits:
- Cheap to make.
- It’s strong and very durable and won’t warp, unlike wood.
- The only maintenance needed is an occasional wash with soapy water.
- Resistant to UV light, rust, rain, and most chemicals.
- It’s a very lightweight material anyway, but it’s so strong that structural profiles can be hollow with integrally moulded supports.
Number of panes
Bow windows have three or more panes angled to produce a gentle curve like a hunting bow. The angle and number of panes give unobstructed views of the surrounding countryside.
The curved shape also provides more space indoors and increases the amount of natural light, creating the illusion of even more space.
uPVC frames combined with double or triple glazing provides an energy-efficient addition to your property.
uPVC bow windows are strong and provide added security to your home. They’re durable and have a long lifespan.
Generally, uPVC windows don’t need maintenance except for a wash with soapy water now and again and a light lubrication of the hinges.
uPVC is a versatile material that allows you to have many different window styles, each with a secure and robust frame. It’s common to have sash, side hung casement, top hung casement or fixed windows. Or any combination of these.
It’s easy to use interchangeable window hardware. For example, you can change the look of the window just by replacing ordinary aluminium handles with brass handles of many different styles.
What are Bow Windows?
Unlike Bay windows which typically have only three glass panels, Bow windows can have as many as five windows of the same size, making the overall effect more symmetrical. Each pane is at an angle of 10 degrees from its neighbour, creating a pleasing curved effect. There is usually much more glass in a typical bow window because of the larger number of panes. Thus, allowing more daylight into the room.
Like bay windows, bow windows protrude from the wall, requiring waterproofing between the top of the windows and the wall. Traditionally, builders used lead flashing or tiles, although sometimes they used copper flashing, especially if the occupiers were a well-to-do family. Modern bow windows use lead flashing, tiles, or a uPVC moulded roof piece.
Building Regulations, Fensa and Planning Permission
New windows must comply with the UK Building Regulations:
- Approved Document B – Fire Safety. In the absence of any other fire escape, the opening window must be large enough to allow evacuation in case of a fire.
- Approved Document F – Ventilation. The document provides guidance on air quality and preventing condensation.
- Approved Document K- Protection from falling, collision and impact. This document provides guidance for preventing collisions and accidents with the glass window panes. To be safe enough to comply with the regulations, the glass must be Fensa Approved. This regulation applies to the manufacturers and those involved with the installation. You can find a Fensa Approved installer here, who will issue a Fensa certificate when the job is complete.
While we’re talking about the regulations, remember that if you are replacing standard “flat” windows with bow windows, you might need planning permission because you’re increasing the floor area of your home.
Which is cheaper, bay or bow window?
Bay windows are generally smaller than bow windows, both in size of window panes and in overall width. Therefore, all things being equal, bay windows are cheaper than bow windows.
What’s the difference between a bay window and a bow window?
Bay windows have three sides of varying sizes. Usually, the middle window is larger than the two side window panes, creating an angle to the wall between 25 to 45 degrees. Bay windows often extend farther from the wall than the bow window, thus adding a small amount of extra floor space.
A bow window uses three to five equally sized panes, with each pane at about 10 degrees to its neighbour. Therefore, this creates a gentle curve rather than an angular shape. Usually, Bow windows are wider than bay windows.
Do bow windows let in more light?
Bow windows consist of more glass panes than bay windows, allowing more daylight to enter the room. They also tend to be wider than bay windows, also allowing more light to enter.
Does a bow window need a roof?
Bow windows protrude from the wall, so it needs something to protect it from rain. If you can tuck the windows under an overhanging eave, you can use the soffit as protection. However, this isn’t possible with most bow windows. If this is the case, you need to provide a waterproof surface to shed the rainfall. Usually, this consists of a small timber hip roof covered with board and lead, zinc or copper sheet. Sometimes, you can build a small tiled or slate roof onto the timber hips and use lead flashing to weatherproof the joint between roof and wall.
Does a bow window add value to a house?
Yes, a bow window increases the floor space and provides an attractive feature on an otherwise uninteresting flat wall. Adding more than one bow window can significantly increase the property’s value and make it more appealing to buyers.
How do you measure a bow for a replacement window?
To measure for a replacement bow window is a relatively simple job. But, we recommend a professional window installer or carpenter take the measurements, just in case there’s a problem.
- Note the distance between the base of the window and its height. You don’t have to, but it’s sometimes helpful to measure the height at three or four separate locations.
- Measure in a straight line from one edge of the window to the other. The tape mustn’t measure any of the curve; otherwise, you have a false reading. Don’t count or measure any individual component because their dimensions automatically derive from the overall width and should be left to the designer and manufacturer.
Find Local Window Installers
Installing a bow window will improve the saleability and increase the value of your home if appropriately fitted. But, remember to use Fensa approved windows and installers who can issue a Fensa Certificate on completion of the work.
We can help you find a suitable Fensa registered window installer by completing the form on this page. Then, up to four installation companies will send you reasonably priced bow window quotes.